The center, originally dedicated Oct. 15, 2004, was renamed in honor of longtime professor and administrator Delbert M. Shankel on April 15, 2010.
Its original centerpiece was an 800-megahertz magnetic resonance spectrometer for use in medicinal and pharmaceutical chemistry research. A $22.2-million, 44,000-square-foot addition to the west side was dedicated Oct. 23, 2008. Two new wings house the Specialized Chemistry Center and the labs and students of Blake Peterson, a Kansas Bioscience Authority Eminent Scholar.
The center also houses the Center of Excellence in Chemical Methodologies and Library Development; the High-Throughput Screening Laboratory; the Center for Cancer Experimental Therapeutics; and the Center of Biomedical Research Excellence.
Shankel came to KU as an assistant professor of microbiology in 1959. He has been chair of the Department of Microbiology, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, executive vice chancellor, acting chancellor (1980-81) and chancellor (1994-95). Among other appointments, he was interim director of intercollegiate athletics. He was named a Mortar Board Outstanding Educator three times and received the alumni association’s Ellsworth Medallion for Outstanding Service and its Distinguished Service Citation.